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Samuel Miller

The fourth son of Rev. John and Margaret Miller, Samuel Miller was born near Dover, Delaware on October 31, 1769. He completed studies at the University of Pennsylvania in 1789 and began studying theology under his father's tutelage. Following Rev. John Miller's death in 1791, Samuel moved to Carlisle, Pennsylvania to complete his theological studies with Charles Nisbet, president of Dickinson College. Samuel was ordained to the Presbyterian ministry on June 5, 1793 and was called to the Presbyterian churches of New York City, serving alongside Rev. Dr. John Rodgers and Rev. Dr. John McKnight. In 1806, he was named moderator of the Presbyterian General Assembly, and for several years also served as its official historian.

While in New York, Miller was active not only in the church, but also as an author. His best-known work, the two-volume Brief Retrospect of the Eighteenth Century, printed in 1803, earned him serious attention and acclaim. He published his Letters on the Constitution and Order of the Christian Ministry in 1807 and wrote a memoir of Dr. John Rodgers in 1813. Also while in New York, Miller served as chaplain for the first regiment of the New York State artillery.

Miller continued his service in New York until 1813, when he was appointed professor of church history and government at the newly established Princeton Theological Seminary. While teaching and preaching, he continued to write and publish. He wrote a memoir of his mentor, Charles Nisbet, in 1840, penned a life of Jonathan Edwards for Jared Sparks' American Biography series, and published numerous speeches and sermons on various topics.

Among his other activities, Miller served as a trustee of both Columbia College and the College of New Jersey, as a founder and president of the New York Bible Society, as a founder of the New York Historical Society, and as a corresponding member of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

On October 24, 1801, Samuel Miller married Sarah Sergeant, the daughter of Jonathan Dickinson Sergeant, attorney general of Pennsylvania. The couple had ten children, including sons Samuel, Elihu, and John. Rev. Samuel Miller continued in his teaching position at the Princeton Theological Seminary until his death on January 7, 1850.

Please visit the following link for materials authored by Samuel Miller maintained in the Their Own Words database:

Miller, Samuel, 1769-1850.

Researched, authored, and edited by James Gerencser.

Page created: October 30, 2003                                            close window